Let's just get to the truth, here, okay?

Yesterday started okay, but we were like a mile from home and Bean asked me "when are X and Y going to get divorced?" (X and Y being a friend's parents.) She asked it in her unassuming, matter-of-fact Bean way, the way only she can. I replied "X and Y aren't going to get divorced, they love each other."

And she promptly dissolved into tears and heaving sobs.

She told me she was jealous and sad, that she wanted her daddy and I to get married again and stay together forever, etc. It's just heartbreaking - she almost had me crying with her because it's such a fundamental want, but one I can't give her.

I get so much more of her emotion and angst about the divorce than Dave does, I think. The stuff she asks me, the challenges she gives me ... I don't think she puts the screws to him quite so much.

And when she asks him, he tells her we're each going to marry someone new and then she'll have a "bonus mommy" and a "bonus daddy", verbiage that I frankly find nauseating. To me it's total leading the witness thing - you're predisposing her to calling the new spouse "mommy" or "daddy" and that's just wrong. Am I crazy?

So then she comes to me and starts drilling me on when I'm going to get married to someone else. And since I'm honest like that, I tell her "mommy's not getting married any time soon." It occurs to me now that I should have just breezily said 'someday' and dropped it, but my brain and responses don't work that way - I always default to the truth. That's probably why I get a lot more - and a lot deeper - questions.

Anywho, as she pressed me about why I wasn't getting married, I said to her "when a marriage ends, both people are sad; I'm not ready to risk being sad again." I doubt that the sad part was true on Dave's side, but I try to make the feelings/choices about the divorce as mutual as possible, so it doesn't seem like she has to choose sides.

Did I misstep? When we talk, I start with the simplest, most honest answer I can; it's only when she presses and doesn't seem satisfied with my response that I start peeling the onion. So I started with "not any time soon", transitioned to "I don't need anyone else to make me happy, so I don't need to be married", baby-stepped to something else, and ended up at "I'm not ready to risk being sad again."

Giving ducky-and-bunny answers just isn't me - I'm a WYSIWYG kinda girl; I'm not sure how well that translates to parenting ... I guess we'll all find out in the 'tween years when she either goes all Goth and hates the world or leads a compassionate crusade to free cows from being eaten. Because, you know, she won't eat beef anymore because cows are her favorite animal.


C said...

My daughtr asked me one day why her father and I divorced. I said (in a non-great moment), "People get married and it's supposed to be forever... but then sometimes someone changes their mind." I felt like an ass. Not a good explanation. Then I guess she said that to a kid at school and they told her that "you're not allowed to change your mind when you're married." She challeneged me with that I I thought for a minute before saying. "You know what? [Know-it-all-kid] is right. Changing your mind is not allowed. But sometimes people do things they shouldn't do because they are angry or sad. Kind of like how it's not okay to hit, but sometimes you or your brother hit each other out of frustration. It's not okay, but it does happen. Sometimes people do things they regret and it hurts people. We can't change what happened, but we can try to not make the same mistakes again."
I tried to impress on her that if I ever remarry, that I *hope* it will be forever.
I bet the reason Bean asks you the tough questions is because she trusts you more to give her honest answers and not just platitudes.

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